Locke & Key: Small World

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Back when I first heard about Locke & Key: Small World, I knew I had to add it to my collection of the Locke & Key series. My book shelves absolutely demanded it! It was only a matter of finding it. This Friday was my lucky day though, as I found a snazzy hardcover deluxe edition on one of the “Staff’s Picks” shelves at my local comic shop. 😀

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This pretty much sums up my reaction upon discovery.

I didn’t even open that bad boy up to get a good look at the contents within. I just plucked it off the shelf, grasped it firmly in my little mitts and paraded around the store like it was already mine. Which it basically was. I would dare anyone to try to take it from me at that point. Fisticuffs Mode was fully activated.

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If you’re not already familiar with the Locke & Key comic series, this might seem a bit dramatic. If you are, however, already acquainted, I’m sure you understand. 😉 Joe Hill (the writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (the artist) are a great team, and their work always leaves you wanting more.

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“For over two hundred years, the Locke family has watched over Keyhouse, a New England Mansion where reality itself has come unhinged, and where shadows have been known to walk about on their own.

Here they have guarded a collection of impossible keys, instruments capable of unlocking unnatural forces. Those who carry the keys bear a dreadful responsibility . . .

. . . and the old wood of this house has been stained with blood more than once.”

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Locke & Key: Small World is a very quick read. It takes readers back to Keyhouse, but introduces us to a different set of characters than the ones we’ve come to love in the volumes of Locke & Key. It still holds the same magic, humor, and horror, but the only downside is that if you’re like me and have been spoiled by reading a full volume at a time, this is like getting a drop of water when you’re parched and just want the whole glass. Still though, a drop of water is of course better than going without, but it really did make me want more to read.

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The rest of the book contained extra content like a conversation about Locke & Key with the creators themselves, an art gallery with variant artwork/covers, and a very detailed look “behind the scenes” of how Locke & Key makes it from rough script to finished pages for the comics.

If this strikes your fancy in the slightest, I highly recommend you go out and get yourself volume 1 of the Locke & Key series, Welcome to Lovecraft. It’s a dark blend of great storytelling and great artwork that draws you in with all the madness that goes down between the pages of the series and leaves you with questions as well as the desire to read the next volume. I’m purposely being vague, since it’s no fun giving away all the good bits, and trust me, this series is full of plenty of good bits. 🙂

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Spider-Gwen, Vol. 1: Greater Power

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After a lukewarm first dip into the world of Spider-Gwen with Volume 0: Most Wanted back in March, I wasn’t in too big of a rush to move onto Volume 1: Greater Power. I didn’t hate it or anything. I just wasn’t as into it as I would have hoped to be. Here’s a link to clicky-clicky if you want to read my thoughts on volume 0.

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Fortunately, Volume 1 carried over the things I enjoyed about volume 0, but toned down some of the things I wasn’t as crazy about (like all the angsty band drama). I’m still a big fan of the popping color schemes, Gwen’s costume design, and this alt-Gwen herself as a character. She’s corny and loves puns. I can appreciate that. 🙂 I also like that she isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes and she owns them and learns from them.

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We get to meet more alt versions of characters as some iconic baddies as well as good guys, and I use the term “guys” loosely, entering the fray. No worries, I won’t spoil the fun by saying who they are. 😉 Here’s the fist of one of them though:

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We also get to learn more about Gwen and her friends before she was bit by that radioactive spider, as well as get some hints at some of the shadier stuff going on behind the scenes with some of the other characters. The story overall still wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but I think it may just be a slow beginning to something better in the long run perhaps. Only time will tell. I’d say I definitely enjoyed this volume more than volume 0 though, and would probably give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

And just for fun, here’s some of the variant covers included in the back of volume 1:

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